Advocacy Alert: Dec. 14

Congress Calls It a Year, Busy 2017 to Follow

Legislators cast their final votes of the year this past weekend, wrapping up the 114th Congress and turning their focus to 2017, when over 50 new members of Congress will join a new President in Washington, D.C. While optimism had been building for a year-end budget deal on Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 appropriations, leadership in Congress and the President-elect opted for a continuing resolution that will keep federal agencies and programs funded at their current levels until April 28, 2017. This pushes back final decisions about FY 2017 funding levels into the spring, when Congress also could be tackling legislation on taxes, health care, and infrastructure, as well as beginning the FY 2018 budget and appropriations process. In short: legislators are going to be especially busy in 2017.
 
Negotiators finishing up the FY 2017 appropriations will start with the legislation written in the House and Senate this year. See how these FY 2017 bills compare to the FY 2016 current funding for some programs impacting museums:
 
 Agency/Program  FY 2016 Current  FY 2017 House  FY 2017 Senate
 IMLS Office of Museum Services  $31.3 million  $31.3 million  $31.9 million
 National Endowment for the Humanities  $147.9 million  $149.8 million  $148.4 million
 National Endowment for the Arts  $147.9 million  $149.8 million  $148.4 million
 NSF Advancing Informal STEM Learning  $62.5 million  TBD  $62.5 million
 Smithsonian Institution  $840 million  $863 million  $860 million
 State and Tribal Historic Preservation Offices  $56.9 million  $58.9 million  $57.9 million
 Civil Rights Movement sites  $8 million  $11 million  $10 million
 Save America’s Treasures  unfunded  $5 million  unfunded
 National Park Service Operations  $2.370 billion  $2.435 billion  $2.406 billion
 
While the current numbers reflect some modest increases for museum-related programs, there will be very different political dynamics at play in 2017 with Republicans controlling the Senate, House of Representatives, and White House for the first time in a decade.

What You Can Do: Register Now for Museums Advocacy Day

It’s an oft-used phrase, but it’s absolutely true at this moment: the stakes have never been higher.
 
As referenced above, the new Congress will be facing the work of both final funding decisions for FY 2017 and starting the FY 2018 budget and appropriations process. At the same time, work on comprehensive tax reform will be getting underway as recent estimates predict that President-elect Trump’s proposal would reduce charitable giving by over $17 billion per year. It will be critical to make the case for museums early and often, and there’s no better way to do that than by participating in Museums Advocacy Day 2017.
 
Seats are starting to fill up, so don’t delay. 

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Your museum’s Economic and Educational Impact Statements are extremely powerful pieces to share with elected officials. See this example from the Amon Carter Museum of American Art and complete yours today